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Waterloo Action Centre, London, 19 September 2018

9 Oct 2018

This is Steve who’ll be modelling tonight,Esther said to the presenter from Mexican TV channel, Televisa FOROtv. I shook hands and tried not to look startled, having at that minute only just walked through the gate at Waterloo Action Centre, still under the illusion I was there simply to photograph Esther in duo poses with Valentina Rock and being interviewed for the telly. Now it seemed I’d been volunteered into a trio…

Televisa had asked to interview Esther following widespread UK media coverage of her Spirited Bodies campaign to promote life drawing amongst teenagers as a means of combating unrealistic body ideals fuelled by social media. This aligned nicely with her booking to model for London Drawing so dots were joined and here we were. Esther spoke to camera before the session started, then Valentina struck the opening pose.

Anne of London Drawing had introduced the session, explaining the presence of a TV camera and making sure no-one felt uncomfortable. After warming up with Valentina’s elegant stretch for 15-minutes, the artists’ next challenge was drawing three times as many models in just two-thirds the time. Esther and I undressed and joined Valentina for a first trio pose of 10-minutes, then another of 10-minutes, and one of 15-minutes.

That took us up to an interval, during which Valentina and two 17 year-old artists gave television interviews, whilst I roamed around photographing artworks. I was astounded at the high quality of works created in such a short space of time. After the break, we ended with poses of 20 and 25-minutes. Aside from suggesting we alternate our high, middle and low relative positions, Anne left us wholly free to express ourselves.

In tune with the session’s theme of body acceptance and body positivity, we remained quite organic and naturalistic throughout our poses. This seemed to be appreciated by the artists, who could relax with our relatable comfort and physical diversity. I hope the message continues to spread around the world: that observing and drawing the human body, nude and natural, in a safe space, can be of social as well as artistic benefit.

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Watch the news story online at Televisa.NEWS: Se popularizan clases de dibujo al natural en Reino Unido – also below…

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From → Art

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